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Police: Man killed had rammed house, fired flare gun at cops

December 23, 2021 GMT

FORDOCHE, La. (AP) — A local police officer shot and killed a man who ran his pickup truck into a house, tried to set it on fire and fired a flare gun at responding officers, Louisiana State Police said Thursday.

A news release identified Jessie Lee Gaither IV, 48, of Opelousas as the man killed Wednesday evening in Fordoche, a town of about 900. It is about 28 miles (45 kilometers) miles west-northwest of Baton Rouge and about 40 miles (64 kilometers) miles east of Opelousas.

Police say nobody else was injured but the house was substantially damaged.

Area residents called 911 shortly before 6 p.m. Wednesday to report that a man who had rammed and tried to burn a house was walking down the street and had a knife and a gun, state police said.

A Pointe Coupee Parish sheriff’s deputy and a Livonia Police Department officer responded.

Gaither brandished the knife and ignored the officers’ repeated orders to stop, the state police statement said. One of the officers tried unsuccessfully to stop him with a stun gun.

“Gaither then brandished a firearm, which was later determined to be a flare gun, and discharged it at the officers,” and one of the officers shot him, the report said. Gaither died at the scene.